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Cuban volleyball player cleared of rape charges, seeks damages

Four of five Cuban men convicted of aggravated rape a year ago in Tampere have had their sentences reduced, while a fifth has been cleared of wrongdoing and released. He is now seeking damages of more than 350,000 euros.

Kuubalaislentopalloilijat Pirkanmaan käräjäoikeudessa.
Some of the defendants in a Tampere court last August. Image: Kaisu Jansson / Yle

On Friday the Turku Appeals Court reduced the sentences of four Cuban men convicted of gang-raping a Finnish woman in Tampere a year ago, and freed one of them.

The men, all in their 20s, were in the city for a tournament as members of the Cuban national volleyball team. The rapes took place in two rooms at a hotel in the city centre on the night of July 2-3, 2016. Two of the men had photographed the acts.

Last September, Pirkanmaa District Court found the five guilty of aggravated rape. Four were handed five-year prison terms while one received a term of three and a half years. The latter, a 22-year-old, was cleared of all charges and released on Friday.

No evidence of participation

The man admits that he was present when the acts occurred, but said he disapproved and left the room. The court ruled that there was no evidence that he took part.

He is now seeking damages for the time he spent behind bars, nearly a year. His lawyer, Marko Virta, says he is demanding about 1,000 euros per day of wrongful imprisonment, totalling over 350,000 euros. The player is also seeking damages for losing his playing contract.

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